Sam Collins


Cover Design Brief

About the Book

A Beautiful Noise is general commercial / book club fiction – ie not genre such as romance, thriller, fantasy, but the kind of books that sit in the window of Waterstones. (Book Club Fiction is usually wide appeal with discussable themes).

This can make it more difficult for cover design (or exciting, depending on your point of view!) as there are more standard styles/tropes that are expected on covers in genre fiction. There are, however, market trends, so always worth  looking at some successful best selling contemporary book covers.  (See below for examples).

See book page>>


  • The blurred lines between ability and disability
  • The difference between hearing and listening
  • Fear of public judgment
  • The transformative power of love, trust and friendship

Sound / Noise / Hearing Loss / Listening.

Intelligent, insightful, irreverent, with a gentle humour.


  • Pip Berry (main protaganist) – a broken and betrayed drummer with a very big secret, suffering terrible panic attacks following a brief spell in prison.
  • Matthew Wolstenholme – bankrupt Earl of Bedingford, hiding his creeping hearing loss, as well as his bankruptcy, trying to save his fortunes by staging a music festival at his Manor.
  • Shelley Harper – a people-pleasing sound engineer struggling with her own confidence but who eventually, with Pip, saves the day.
  • Rex Trenton & the Edge of Darkness – has-been ’80s rock band in desperate need of a comeback.
  • Victoria Wolstenholme – foul-mouthed dowager Countess of Bedingford (Matthew’s elderly sister-in-law) whose eloquent wisdom unlocks Pip’s transformation.

Heritage Hampshire village of Bedingford, six times winner of ‘The Quietest Village in England’.
Bedingford Manor – Matthew’s ancestral home, venue for the concerts.

Design Brief

It’s important that the cover:

  • reflects the style of the book (see above);
  • can stand with the market-leaders in contemporary fiction (sorry!);
  • is original, but has elements of the style of contemporary best sellers (examples below), so that readers know at a glance ‘what kind of book it is’;
  • looks good as an ebook as well as paperback. Which means that it stands out in black & white (ie Kindle) as well as colour, and works as a digital thumbnail as well a print cover.

I am leaning towards an illustrative cover, rather than photographic (see below examples for more comments). Happy to consider original artist/artwork if this needs to be sourced – particularly as I would like certain images incorporated and I would like them to be in a consistent drawn style. 

It’s called A Beautiful Noise and I would like it to be ‘beautiful’!


I would like some key images included which, ideally, could also be used as standalone images for use on the inside pages, the website, promotional material etc.  (The pictures below are for information, not necessarily the images I want used).

Key images to include:

  • Old style petrol lawnmower
    (like the one grandad had, with the grass collector at front and roller at back)


  • Victorian padlock with letters instead of numbers, spelling D.R.U.M
  • Drumstick(s)
  • Wireless over-ear headphones and/or ear defenders.

Other images could be:

  • Abstract image(s) to represent sound/noise/silence
  • Overgrown/dilapidated Manor house
  • Stately home courtyard viewed through a palladian archway with a stage at the other end
  • Village/countryside (see Richard Coles below) but not too bucolic.

Book Cover Examples

Sally Page
The Keeper of Stories

I like the way that the key story images are dotted around the edge. This style might fit well incorporating the images above? eg I can see a faded image of the stage through the palladian archway of the Manor courtyard as the background, with the key images winding round the edge… not sure what the imagery to replace the leaves and flowers would be though…


Rachel Joyce
Miss Benson’s Beetle
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Maureen Fry & the Angel of the North

One of my favourite authors. I like the simplicity of her covers with the key illustrative images – shoes, bird, travel bags, beetle, jungle – representing the story/journeys of the main characters. (Not sure I could pick one key image though, possibly the headphones…)

Bonnie Garmus
Lessons in Chemistry
(Probably the biggest book of the moment)

Not really the style I’m after, but I like the clever way it incorporates the theme image with the element from the periodic table (In), and also the spine is very eye-catching and would stand out on a book case.

Nick Hornby
Juliet Naked

I like the way the image continues over the spine and back cover and that it dots about little images from the story (bird, raincloud, plane, lifebouy).

Richard Coles
Murder Before Evensong
A Death in the Parish

Also a village-set book and the cover conveys that well. But these are probably too cosy for ABN.